Saturday, February 26, 2011


Sometimes I just want to rant.
I want to rant about all the people who talk about religion with all the authority of ignorance.
I want to rant about all the people who talk about religion with all the authority of dogma.
I want to rant about all the people who defile grace with doctrine and love with limitations.
I want to rant about ministers who do not minister.
About denominations that are corporations.

I guess the question for me is:  On what side do we err?

Do we err on the side of some legalistic, graceless, myth of personal salvation at the expense of our own humanity and that of others?  At the risk of limiting Godde (or our understanding of the Godde)?
Or do we err on the side of love? 
Boundless, unfettered,  graceful love that includes and honors each one as a mystery in the image of Godde?   Just why is that so damn hard to do?

Why is there even the possibility of a choice?  Okay, that may not be as serious a question as the others but I find, after all these years of even compassionate listening, that I cannot and do not understand how any human being can claim limits on the love of Godde.

Thousands of years ago Joshua said, "as for me and my house, we will serve Adonai."
Today I say, "as for me and my house we will serve Love."

We will serve Love when it stretches us and makes us uncomfortable.
We will serve Love when it is considered foolishness.
We will serve Love without binding it and be dragged along into its wildness.

I think when one serves Love, one (meaning me, in this instance) is just along for the ride.
Is it easy? comfortable? profitable?  not usually.
Is it rich, deep, wide, wild and passionate?  always.
Is it good doctrine?  can you run an organization effectively this way?  does it put the individual or community at risk?  No. No. and Yes.

Is it what followers in the Way of Jesus are called to?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Year's Inventory

     I have not posted in a while- having given myself over to the rush of the holidays that are now but a swirl of memories.  And so, I begin again.

     Each year, sometime around the New Year, we spend a worship service doing an inventory of our lives together in past year.  We review our covenant and assess the ways we have kept covenant and the ways we have broken covenant.  The exercise calls us to mindfulness and to renew our commitment to the promises we have made to one another and to the Sacred as members of this community.

     When we engage in this process I encourage us to be in a stance of growth and challenge rather than breast-beating and guilt.  (Which, as we all know, are never healthy and often stunts growth rather than encourages it.)  When we are frightened of making mistakes or of failure, we severely limit our capacity for growth and change.  So these are the things I invite us to hold in one hand while we evaluate our communal and personal lives on the other:

1- as St. Benedict reminds us, always we begin again.  Each new day and week and month and year offers the opportunity to choose to begin again.
2-  living a spiritual life is more about journey than destination.  Our goal is not to arrive at perfection but to live into each moment as fully human, fully aware, and fully engaged people of spirit as we are able.
3-  inventory is like confession, it is a time of seeing ourselves clearly so that we might be more mindful of our choices.

      In worship we see confession as taking a stance of  vulnerability and authenticity before Godde.  We remind each other that speaking our truth is necessary for healing and transformation.  In a larger sense, taking our yearly inventory invites and calls us to self awareness - both as individuals and as a community- of the promises we have kept and the ones we have not.  Covenantal relationship with the Creator is a two way street, a relationship of implied mutuality.  Godde's keeping covenant is not dependent on whether or not we keep covenant (our word, our intention)  but our relationship with Godde suffers when we do not. 

     And so each year we look around and ask: who is not at the table?  And we ask if we have made space that is safe for those who are NOT here as well as for those who are.  And we ask where we have been compassionate and where we have fallen short.  Where and on whose behalf have we sought justice?  And where have we been silent?  In what ways are we and are we not in right relationship with Godde?  Have we listened for Sacred leading?

Every year the challenge to be more fully who we are called to be as Godde's people excites and ignites us.  We remember things we didn't realize had been forgotten.  We experience renewal of commitment.  Sometimes, we remember our passion.   Always, we are called more deeply into our journey with one another and with Godde.

Maybe once a year is not enough.